Constructed during the spring and summer of 1891, and formally dedicated in September of that year, the Annex initially provided local units of the Oregon National Guard quartered in the three year old main Armory located on the south half of the same block with more space for drill maneuvers, as well as an underground firing range for all-season target practice.
The fortress like Annex with its thick walls, reinforced wooden doors, loopholes, turrets, and crenellated parapets played another, no less significant role in the city. Given the era’s ongoing worries about mob violence and fears of class warfare, and given the numerous anti-Chinese riots that had recently taken place up and down the Pacific coast, most Portland residents would have welcomed the building as both a symbol of power, strength, and security, and as a constant reminder of military authority during unsettled times.
From the beginning, the Gerding Theater at the Armory was envisioned as much more than a new venue for live performance. Partners agreed that this new community destination should stand as a testament to and celebration of the values that have given Portland its distinctive character and national reputation. It’s no secret that sustainability ranks highly on the short list of core Portland values. For 2006, Sustainlane.com ranked Portland as number one in the nation for overall sustainability, and cities around the world have long looked our way for benchmarks of community planning and sustainable development.
Gerding Theater at the Armory
128 NW Eleventh Avenue Portland